Whitby Abbey

Looking up, looking down- in Whitby!

Looking down on Saltwick Nab

Looking down on Saltwick Nab

The cliff tops at Whitby are a great place from which to look down.  Can you see those two tiny specks of people way out in the bay? The tide was as low as I’ve ever seen it, and I think that they might have been seeking fossils, normally hidden beneath the waves.

The Nab is beautiful

The Nab is beautiful as the light catches the hump of its back

Click on a photo to open the gallery

What stories these rocks might tell

What stories these rocks could tell

As we approach the outstretched arms of the pier at Whitby

As we approach the outstretched arms of the pier at Whitby

Stories of shipwrecks

Stories of shipwrecks

And pirates!

And of pirates!

At the bottom of Whitby’s 199 steps (I never remember to count) W. Hamond is Whitby’s original jet shop, established in 1860.  The jewellery looks fabulous, and nowadays there’s a tea shop, if you don’t mind a few more steps.  Or there’s always icecream!  For once I had a project in mind as I was walking around.  As I paused to look up at some cherubs on the HSBC building, an elderly gentlemen grasped me by the arm.  ‘You should come inside’ he said, leading me firmly through the heavy doorway.  The old carved wood was highly polished and beautiful (and the bank clerks totally ignored me), but the ceiling was the surprise.   Who would have thought?

Click on a photo for a closer look

And the project I had in mind?  Joining lovely Debbie on Travel with Intent.  She spends her Thursdays looking up and looking down. This week she has some wonderful photos of the Forth Rail Bridge, and it’s week 96 of the challenge.  What are you waiting for?

So let's finish with a look up at the abbey

Let’s just finish with a look up at the Abbey

And down those steps!

And down those steps!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Whitby cliff tops

St. Mary's Church, suspended on the cliff top

St. Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey, suspended on the cliff top

Now, I know what you’re thinking!  ‘This lady is obsessed with cliff tops and water’.  And you wouldn’t be very far wrong.  After the cliffs at Sagres in the Algarve, and last week’s Seaham walk, it’s becoming a recurring theme.  I do try to vary my walks for you, but I can’t help being just a little biased.

This week we’re going down the North Yorkshire coast to Whitby.  Last time I took you there we went window shopping.  It’s a small town that has something for everyone, but my favourite part is unquestionably up on the cliff, looking down.  First we have to get up there.  We’ll tackle the steps pretty soon, to get them out of the way.  Your reward can be fish and chips afterwards. Agreed?

The car park is right next to the marina- a good place to start

The car park is right next to the marina- a good place to start!

And today there's a treat! The swing bridge is opening.

And today there’s a treat! The swing bridge is opening.

In all my years, I have rarely seen this sight in the bustling little port.  A crowd gathers to watch the sailboat go by, and as the gates swing shut again, a queue forms to cross over the bridge.  A delightful party of small schoolchildren with cheery blazers were being corralled by their teachers. I’d have loved a shot but they were too fidgety!  Over we go, to be met by a confusion of signs.

There is a confusion of signs! And can you see the bubbles coming out of that box?

I thought these bubbles were with the schoolchildren, but apparently not!

And then it's the steps!

Then it’s the steps!  Only 199 of them

But don't worry!  You can stop to admire the view.

But don’t worry! You can keep stopping to admire the view.

It's lovely in either direction

It’s lovely in either direction

Here's an interesting place to live!

Here’s an interesting place to live!  Next to Caedmon’s Trod

And at the top St. Mary's Church is beckoning

And at the top, St. Mary’s Church quietly waits

Whitby has been welcoming visitors for a long time.  The earliest record of a permanent settlement is 656AD, when an abbey was founded on the East Cliff by Oswy, the Christian king of Northumbria.  Viking raiders destroyed the monastery that followed, and for 200 years the site lay desolate, until after the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The area was then granted to William de Percy who, in 1078, donated land upon which was constructed a Benedictine Monastery, St. Mary’s Church and the town and port of Whitby.

The name Whitby comes from Old Norse, meaning ‘White Settlement’.  It was here, in Whitby Abbey, that the earliest recognised English poet, Caedmon, a former cowherd, lived and worked. The town has a strong literary history and famously features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Set on the River Esk, Whitby has a sheltered harbour, and in the 18th century the port was a thriving centre for shipbuilding, whaling and the transport of locally mined alum and jet.  The jet became very fashionable when Queen Victoria adopted it for her mourning jewellery on the death of Prince Albert.  Whitby jet shops still feature prominently in the cobbled streets today.

The clouds are gathering, so it's time to move on

The clouds are gathering, so it’s time to move on

We pass the entrance to the Abbey ruins

Pass by the entrance to the Abbey ruins

And out on the cliff top, look back at Whitby Abbey

And out on the cliff top, look back at Whitby Abbey and the pier

Ahead of us lies Saltwell Nab

Ahead lies Saltwell Nab

And beyond that, Whitby Holiday Park, balanced precariously on the cliffs

And beyond that, Whitby Holiday Park, balanced precariously on the cliffs

At this point you can turn inland and follow a path back to the coast road, but I wanted to see more.  We are only 1 mile out of Whitby, and 5 miles further down the coast is idyllic Robin Hood’s Bay.  I continue on, along the Cleveland Way.

Whitby is still visible in the distance

Whitby is still visible in the distance

And below the bay glistens

And below, the glistening bay

While colourful Cinnebar moths  flutter at the cliff's edge

While colourful red and black Cinnebar moths explore delicious yellow cowslips

Another treat in store next- a former lighthouse and fog-horn station

Another treat awaits – a lighthouse and a fog-horn station!

‘Hornblower Lodge’ is now a holiday cottage, but was formerly a fog-horn station, fondly known as the Whitby Bull.  The original horn was switched off in 1987 but before that it worked in conjunction with Whitby High Light.  The lighthouse is only 13 metres high but is positioned on the cliff top, 73 metres above high water level, with a range of 18 nautical miles.

The lighthouse also has holiday cottages to let, details included in the link.

High light

Whitby High Light

Wouldn't you like to live here?

Wouldn’t you like to live here?  I would!

Or how about 'Hornblower Cottage'?

Or how about ‘Hornblower Cottage’?

A lane heads inland from the cottage, taking you past farmland, and soon you are back on the coastal road.  You can follow this all the way back to Whitby and visit the Abbey, if you like.  It’s well worth a visit, and there is a restaurant on site.  Or you can save the visit for another day and take the footpath to your left, just past the Holiday Park sign.  This will bring you back into Whitby, threading your way down through the houses to end up almost opposite your start point.

Heading back to Whitby

Heading back to Whitby

Down the steps through the houses

Down the steps, and past the houses

Back at your start point, at the harbourside

Till you’re back at our start point, by the harbour

These are the newest lobster pots I ever saw!

These are the newest lobster pots I have ever seen!

Speaking of lobster, I seem to remember we had an agreement?  Whitby is full of fish and chip shops but ‘Hadleys’ is a favourite of mine.  Always busy, I don’t know how the girls stay so cheerful.  You’ll find it on the corner, just over the swing bridge and before the Whitby steps.

No, I haven't forgotten!  Believe me, they are really good

A little expensive, but very good

Just one last photo, for Jill, who thinks my skies are always blue

Just one last photo, for Jill, who thinks my skies are always blue!

The downpour drove me inside the excellent Tourist Information Centre, right by the car park, but it didn’t last for long.  Or I could have gone shopping for Whitby jet.

What do you think?

What do you think?

My walk is about 6 miles in total, or the shorter version 4 and a half.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you don’t drive, Whitby is easily accessible by rail from Middlesbrough.  This link will give you lots more information about the area, to encourage you to visit.

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I’m so lucky this week!  Meg has agreed to be my tour guide to the Wilanow Palace in Warsaw  :

http://morselsandscraps2.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/a-stroll-through-the-gardens-at-wilanow/

And she doesn’t mind a spot of rain, either  :

http://morselsandscraps2.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/walking-in-the-rain/

Drake introduced me to Svendborg in Denmark.  What a beauty!  :

http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/an-old-port-out-to-the-world/

Please don’t miss Jude’s Logan Botanic Gardens.  You will be bedazzled!  :

http://smallbluegreenflowers.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/garden-portrait-logan-botanic-garden/

Sylvia is running out of time for her beach walks, but don’t be sad!  :

http://anotherday2paradise.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/another-nostalgic-beach-walk-for-jo/

And I got deluged at the falls with Amy- and loved it!  :

http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/jos-monday-walk-multnomah-falls/

Pauline (you know her as Pommepal) has sent me a post all the way from Canberra, down under  :

http://pommepal.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/welcome-to-cool-climate-canberra/

And I thought I’d just update you on Elaine  :

http://elainemcnulty.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/yorkshire-3-peaks-challenge-the-update/

That’s quite a lot of reading for you so you’ll need a cuppa (or two!).  I promise to find you a flat walk for next week.  If you’d like to join me, just click on the logo for details.

Six word Saturday

6ws-participating-in-bannerLast week PINK , this week blue!

Whitby harbour, North Yorkshire

Whitby harbour, North Yorkshire

It’s been a very Whitby sort of week when it comes to the blog so I may as well finish as I started.  I’m often blue on grey days, but this week I didn’t have much excuse.

How's this for a cliff top view?

How’s this for a cliff top view?

Hope you enjoyed the trip?  I still have some more shots for a rainy day. Click on any photo to see the gallery.

My grateful thanks to Cate at Show My Face.  Her life seems much harder than mine.  Click on the link or the header to see what’s been happening in her week.

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A Special Place

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We all have places that we regard as special.  St. Mary’s Church at Whitby holds that special quality for me.  During the Summer I was there, proudly showing my Polish neice, Basia, our English Heritage.  A lovely elderly gentleman was holding court, comfortably seated, with coffee in hand.  He explained that he was waiting for his wife to finish walking the dog, a task he was no longer up to.  Whilst he did so, he was more than happy to entertain all comers, with tales of the church and it’s history.

Reluctantly, we pulled ourselves away.  My own elderly gentleman (dad) was waiting in the car, not able to walk too far himself, and we still had awe-inspiring Whitby Abbey to see.  Before we did so, we were urged to come back again in December, when the church would be alight with dozens of Christmas trees.  On Monday I returned, and this is what I found.

Trees in every style and colour

Trees in every style and colour

Each sponsored by a local business

Each sponsored by a local business

A local gallery

A local gallery

Craft shop

Craftware

Commemorative trees

Gift shops

Natural products

Natural products

Modern style

Modern style

Ornate

Ornate

Traditional

Traditional

The Captain Cook Museum

The Captain Cook Museum

Put the kettle on Ma!

Put the kettle on Ma!  Teashops galore.

And, of course, the fishmongers

And, of course, the fishmongers

Just to complete the occasion I was treated to a carol service from one of the local schools, busy rehearsing for the real thing.  They sounded wonderful.

Small voices raised to celebrate the birth of Jesus

Small voices raised to celebrate the birth of Jesus

St. Mary’s is a delightful church.  The tower and basic structure date from Norman times, around 1110.  A hodge podge of styles have been added since, but it is the box pews that draw the eye, each carpeted and upholstered with cushions.  Overhead galleries are rarely used today, but the large charcoal stove is an essential element with our coastal chill.

Whitby is probably best known for its association with Bram Stoker.  He lived there from 1890 to 1896, and set an important scene from Dracula at the church.  I imagine that the graveyard on a dark Winter’s night is a scarey place indeed, but the church interior is a joyous space.  It was described by Simon Jenkins in “England’s Thousand Best Churches” as “part folly, part museum, part large parlour”.  You should see it for yourself, and I can think of no better time than when the Christmas trees are in residence. (10.00- 15.00 daily until 3rd Jan., excepting Christmas and Boxing Day)

The graveyard and Whitby Abbey

The graveyard and Whitby Abbey

St. Mary's from the Abbey grounds

St. Mary’s from the Abbey grounds

Looking back at church and Abbey from Whitby pier

Looking back at church and Abbey from Whitby pier

It is a bit of a climb up to St. Mary’s and the Abbey, but it’s also possible to get there by road if you can’t manage the steps.

Do you have a special place to share?  Please do.

Six word Saturday

My week as a tour guide

My weeks are often hectic, but this one has excelled itself- mostly in a good way.  The Polish family from Norfolk are coming soon, so I’ll keep this brief.

If you’re ever in Durham, book the Castle tour- it really is fabulous!

Just one highlight- the carved pews in the Chapel

The University Library is having a makeover. These are the glass entry doors. Pass through to buy your tickets for the Castle tour. The Lindisfarne Gospels are coming soon- awesome!

Replica door knocker at the Cathedral- they won’t turn you away.

A rainy day on the Cathedral roof. Of course, we still went up there!

Newcastle Quayside, celebrating the Olympics

A view from my favourite “Eye” (Gateshead Millenium Bridge) across to the Sage Theatre

And of course, the Millenium Bridge from the Baltic Gallery viewing platform

Welcome to York- the Medieval gatehouse sits nonchalantly beside traffic lights.

The city walls are a great place to start

The gardens at the Treasurer’s House

We used to make brass rubbings here.

I could definitely use a seat in one of the numerous shops.

Or maybe Betty’s Tearooms would be a better choice? (just visible in the corner)

St. Mary’s unique church at Whitby

It was a pleasure talking to the church warden. So many tales to tell.

Whitby Abbey is incomparable

The setting is superb

And the craftsmanship- how did they achieve this?

I have really appreciated seeing my world through my niece’s eyes, and will miss her when she goes to Norfolk tomorrow.  She has one further week in the UK before her return to Poland.  We certainly packed a lot in.  I haven’t included the local stuff, the 1st birthday party, or the one for my 96 year old aunt, Isa!

I’m sharing my world on the invitation of Cath of Show My Face, and am grateful for the opportunity to do so.  If you have six words that would sum up your week, why not join in?  Just follow the links or the header to do so.  More 6WS’s on this pretty button.